“Passion for Life”

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“Passion for Life” : “Choose-your-own-adventure” online game to match strengths and passions with sus

Kathmandu, NepalKathmandu , Nepal
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Passion for Life is a 5 module cycle online “choose your own adventure” game to facilitate youth to identify their strengths and passions and match them with potential ways to earn a sustainable income while also addressing problems in their communities to be solved.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if we could match each individual’s strengths and passions with a way to earn a sustainable income and address their community’s challenges
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The world's education system and development industry are broken. The development model puts the developing world in a subservient position, creating a cycle of dependence. The education system perpetuates this - rote learning of irrelevant facts which teach that they need to depend on aid for their future (eg class 9 social studies text book in Nepal for hydroelectricity simply lists 16 countries that have donated for hydropower!).

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

We address these 2 global issues by creating a groundswell of passion to overhaul: a) the world’s education system to base it in positive psychology by customising the students’ learning built on their strengths and passions (using an online “choose your own adventure” game platform called “Passion for Life”) to ensure education is relevant and engaging, resulting in a flourishing, entrepreneurial generation in control of their wellbeing and inspired in learning to deliver their dreams; b) the development industry with an education model built in developing countries so they have a gift to give the developed world, empowering them as donors rather than recipients.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Pushpa was miserable. She was studying class 11 commerce and hating it, every day a struggle to force herself to get out of bed and go to class. We took her through the Passion for Life cycle, resulting in her identifying working with disabled children through music as her passion. We teamed her up with the Down Syndrome Society in Nepal and watched the magic fly. It was like she became a different person, a buzz within her, a sense of commitment. Having this purpose gave her courage to finish class 12 and now she works as the manager of the Down Syndrome Society’s care centre. This is the power of Passion for Life – putting youth in touch with their passions and strengths to create a sustainable future for themselves.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

In 3 years, 200 girls have been through the pilot, offline program. We are still developing the online version. Over 500 girls have been through earlier versions of the program as it was developed. Using our “pay it forward” model, we estimate over 2,000 children have benefited from the program to date. The increased confidence and belief in themselves of the girls has been significant. Rather than the usual “I want to be a doctor” response, they became more confident in expressing their dreams. They were able to seek experiences and training which complements their strengths, resulting in using their strengths to overcome the challenges they faced in school. We also saw a significant decrease in early marriage and other school drop out causes as the girls saw a connection with their futures.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

We also plan to develop the online game version of the project which will greatly expand its potential reach, partnering with organisations and schools to provide access to computers and support facilitators to those who may not otherwise have access. One of the most powerful tools we’ve found working in Nepal is to link the girls we work with with girls in other developing countries to share ideas and experiences. They feel empowered knowing there are people in other places sharing their challenges and growing together. The online platform will enable these networks to thrive.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

The program is currently being run by Mitrataa Foundation. Once the online platform is developed, we plan a “pay what you can afford” model. The game is equally as applicable, fun and relevant for students in more developed countries and communities who can pay a fee for access which goes to support those who cannot afford to pay. These fees can also support mentors for the program in areas where internet access isn't stable.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

It is no secret that the education model isn’t currently meeting the needs of the 21st century children and many are working on solutions. We aim to create networks – to share information and learnings. We are all fighting the same barriers of this giant jigsaw. We have tried working with larger organisations but they are too structured, too political internally. The change must be driven from those who need the system to change. Our project aims to put power back in their hands, to give them tools to demand change to their curriculums and schools.

Founding Story

I founded Mitrataa Foundation in 2000. Mitrataa empowers the Nepali people to take responsibility for their own futures by providing them with the education, skills, training, networks and belief in themselves to achieve it. Rather than “fixing what is broken”, we identify what is working based on strengths and passions (whether on a country, village, group, individual level) and build on those. The Passion for Life model is the result of 12 years of experience in development and education and positive psychology – and is firmly grounded in the philosophy that the people I work with have the answers – they just need someone to believe in them and a bit of support to implement them.


We believe in the power of networks and so our team is far spread and diverse. It consists of previous volunteers (teachers, lawyers, students) and partners (schools, foundations, companies) overseas as well as young women who have graduated from our programs on the ground in Nepal. Our aim is that the girls who benefit from our programs will take over management in future and so we provide them with jobs and training to facilitate this.
About You
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Project
Organization Name
How long has your organization been operating?

Organization Country

, Kathmandu

Country where this project is creating social impact

, Kathmandu

What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Individuals, Foundations, NGOs.


I have won a number of awards for my work with Mitrataa:

1) While at Cadbury, I won the Chairman’s Award (2010) which was given to one employee from Cadbury globally for their community and social work;
2) I won an International Year of Volunteers Award in Australia in 2001;
3) I won “Young Alumni of the Year” at Women’s College, Sydney University, in 2011.
4) I was awarded a Certificate of Recognition by the Prime Minister of Nepal in 2009 for my work supporting the Pashmina industry to register a new logo around the world and advising them in developing a marketing plan to reinvent this important export industry for Nepal.
5) I was awarded Rotary Inspirational Woman of the Year 2013 in Australia for my work with Mitrataa.
6) I was runner up for Bond University Alumni Award for Community Service in 2013.

Mitrataa has received a number of grants, primarily due to my work, including:

1) A grant from MasterCard to run several women’s programs on financial literacy and entrepreneurial development;
2) A grant from the COMO Foundation for our work creating a new, more sustainable and positive focused model for children’s homes in Nepal;
3) An MOU with Charles Stuart University in Australia to train student teachers in our model school in Nepal.

Primary Target Age Group

13 - 17, 18 - 35.

Your role in Education

Counselor, Social Worker, Teacher, Other.

Please specify which of the following best applies:

I am applying on behalf of a particular program or initiative.

The type of school(s) your solution is affiliated with (if applicable)

Public (tuition-free), Private (tuition-based), Home-School, Other.

Intervention Focus

Extracurricular, Professional Development, Online Learning, Parenting, Products or Services.

Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below?

Putting Children in Charge: Giving children a voice and cultivating agency via experiential learning, project-based learning, and civic engagement.

Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers?

One size fits all fits none: Students are disengaged and not being prepared for "real life."


Development of online platform for the Passion for Life "choose your own adventure" game

What key learning outcomes does your work seek to improve?

Every child has a gift. The purpose of this project is to help them identify their passions and strengths and to work out how to use it to fill their place in the world as a creative solution finder to the challenges in their communities.

Secondary Form
PROGRAM DESIGN CLARITY: We are hungry to know more about what exactly your model consists of. Please succinctly list a) what main activities are you doing with your beneficiaries, b) where you carry out the activities? c) how often? d) for how many hours? e) who delivers the services? and f) any other brief details

We run Passion for Life workshops and getaways for girls in Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur and Kavre districts in Nepal. These are conducted in different ways depending on beneficiaries’ needs – some are 1 hour monthly, others are intensive weeks away, others are “pop up workshops”. The services are delivered by Bec as well as our team of trainers (girls who have been through the program and trained as trainers). The workshops consist of activities to guide them in identifying their strengths, how they can use them to create an income and how to create a road map.

INSPIRATION: What do you consider the most important trends or evidence that inspire you to believe the world is ready to Re-imagine Learning? Please elaborate.

The conversation around learning has changed. The focus has shifted from assessment and outcomes to more of the process, the learning environment, the learners themselves. This change opens a great opportunity for learning to be reimagined, re-engineered. There has been increased interest in the physical classrooms which is a wonderful opportunity to integrate play into learning spaces. Once this happens, other changes can filter through. The dramatic development of technology also allows new conversations for incorporating more play and independent and customised learning. It’s exciting.

LEARNING THROUGH PLAY: What does “learning through play” mean to you and why it is a must-have, instead of a nice to have?

Learning content is no longer sufficient. To succeed in the current world, students need to master skills in learning how to learn. Play provides opportunities to practise creativity, innovation, critical thinking, determination and to set their curiosity free. All critical 21st century skills. Play has built in rewards and motivation as well as opportunities for cross-cultural games and interactions (facilitated by technology). Play enables a culture of learning which will overhaul classrooms and learning environments by changing the perceptions of learning.

SUSTAINABILITY: Please list a quick breakdown of your funding, indicating the percentage that comes from each source.

- Fundraising – events and individual funders in Australia – 50%
- Foundations – COMO Foundation primarily in Singapore – 30%
- NGOs – Partner organisations such as Dream Speakers in Nepal – 20%

MODEL: How does your mission relate to your business model (i.e. Non-profit, for-profit or hybrid)?

The non-profit industry is increasingly uncertain and more time is spent preparing reports to donors than on delivering services to beneficiaries. It also creates a dependency.
The profit industry is focused on commercialising solutions rather than on the quality of people’s lives.
A hybrid model combines creativity and innovation which drive profit industries with a mission based approach. For sustainable change, a hybrid model is crucial.

FUNDING PRIORITIES: If your organization were given $20K in unrestricted funding today, how would you use it? Why?

-Developing more content – based on feedback from our pilot projects and during this award process.
-Training more trainers – to enable them to empower more people
-A formal study – for credibility and feedback to enable us to improve
-The online model – for expansion, scalability and fun

PARTNERSHIPS: Tell us about your partnerships that enhance your approach.

Partnerships are at the heart of Passion for Life:
-with our donors (eg COMO Foundation) who give us access to their experience and other partners are fantastic
-with international organisations with similar missions in different countries enable us to learn from others
-but on the ground partnerships with youth clubs, schools, other organisations are what will give us scale and truly sustainable change. These are our lifeblood and our passion

COLLABORATIONS: Have you considered or initiated partnerships with any of the other Challenge Pacesetters? If so, please share.

Oh yes! We have exchanged ideas with several other Pacesetters and arranged Skype calls with a few to explore ideas. The conversations are flowing and the partnerships will follow. The networking opportunities have been the highlight of this process. We have learned so much and been very inspired.

VISION: If you had unlimited funding, and you could fast forward 15 years to when your program has been able to achieve wild success - what will it have achieved?

What a wonderful question! Wild success for Passion for Life would be an online world where young people can explore their passions, try out careers, brainstorm with others for ideas. The online platform would be available globally in several languages. Then there would be locally driven facilitated face-to-face brainstorming and implementation support in schools, youth groups and other gatherings of young people created and led by local youth.

IMPACT - KEY METRICS: Please list the key data points that you would cite as evidence that you are able to achieve lasting learning outcomes. Please also share one data point for which you most hope to see better results over time

200 girls have been through the off line pilot program in 3 years.
Over 500 girls have been through different iterations of earlier versions of the program.
But we are too early in to be able to measure the outcomes. For me, how many children do it is not so important. We need to measure how many identify their passions and succeed in achieving it, how many make better career study decisions as a result of having a plan and career counselling.

IMPACT - REPORTING SAMPLE: Please attach any examples of your impact reporting. [optional]:
RESEARCH AND EVIDENCE: Please link or attach any research or evidence resource you are open to sharing more widely [optional]. Building research and evidence is a key aim of this initiative, and the resources you share may be chosen for listing in the Center for Education Innovations library:
SOURCE: If applicable - who created the research or evidence you are choosing to share? :
IMPACT - REACH: How many people did your project directly engage in programmatic activities in the last year?

0 to 500

STUDY: Has an external evaluation or study been conducted of your organization?


Other (please specify)
Number of Employees:

Fewer than 10

Number of Volunteers:


APPROACHES: Given the complexity of play, it is not surprising that there have been numerous research attempts to categorize the different types and approaches! Please indicate which of the following your project focuses on.

Pretence/ Socio-Dramatic Play, Creating a Supportive Socio-Emotional Environment, Adults Participating (Ensuring adults are able to play alongside children), Challenging Play (play that disrupts - where rules are disregarded and levels of imagination are high).

Other (please specify)
AFFILIATION: Please specify if your organization has any existing affiliations with the LEGO Group.